Road Safety News

Rid the UKs roads of persistent offenders - GEM

Wednesday 28th October 2015

GEM Motoring Assist is calling for a renewed focus to rid the UK’s roads of the most dangerous and persistent offenders.

GEM argues that this would have an ‘immediate and significant impact’ in road casualties, as well as demonstrating a commitment to protecting vulnerable road users.

It follows a similar plea from TISPOL, who used its annual conference earlier this month to call for better protection of vulnerable road users, with greater efforts to rid Europe’s roads of the most dangerous drivers.

David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive, said: “Identifying and sanctioning those drivers who pose unacceptably high risks is vital if we are once again to see reductions in the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads. Whether they are disqualified, uninsured, or simply demonstrate a flagrant disregard for the rules, there should be no place for them on our roads.

“The mechanisms are in place to deal with these high-end offenders, but it is frustrating that the dwindling number of road policing officers often makes this very difficult.

“We also urge magistrates to think about the safety message they are sending when they cave in to pleas of ‘exceptional hardship’ and choose not to impose a six-month ban on a driver who has accumulated 12 penalty points.

“Using our roads is not an automatic right for an individual, and must always come with responsibilities. With effective enforcement and consistent, tough sentencing for the worst offenders, we would see a worthwhile deterrent in place and a safer road environment for everyone.”


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Judges long ago decided that "driving is for most people a necessary part of their involvement in a normal life and is therefore a right that should be taken away only when absolutely necessary, not a privilege to be allowed by the State". Or words to that effect. And they are right.

Duncan is, as usual, right. The proposition that there is some way in which drivers can be accurately separated into Goodies and Baddies, and that as Hugh seems to believe, this can be done by means of penalty point totals, is simply preposterous. For instance, a safe driver might easily accumulate 12 points for 1mph breaches of unreasonably low thresholds, on dry roads in daylight with little traffic while a hooligan - unless in a cloned or stolen car - might accumulate only 9 points for exceeding thresholds by 16mph in driving rain in the wet and at night.

It follows not only that we need some sense introduced into this subject but also more police patrols to ensure a more sensible and proportionate penalty regime.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (4) | Disagree (7)

The offences I commit are exactly the same ones that you and everybody else does I'm afraid Hugh. That is unless you and everybody else are utterly incapable of error in which case I am incorrect in my assumption.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (4) | Disagree (5)

I'm sure we'd all be interested to know what offences you commit and which rules you break persistently, Duncan! It would no doubt help put your past opinions an assertations into some sort of context.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (3)

Mr Williams is absolutely correct, if we did get rid of all the persistent offenders then indeed our roads would be a great deal safer as a result.

The problem is however that every driver and rider is a persistent offender whether they realise it or not! Everybody breaks the rules on occasion and more regularly than they might imagine and whether it be by accident or design, every driver and rider out there meets Mr Williams' criteria. This means therefore that all drivers and riders are suitable candidates for deletion. Without any drivers or riders (even robot ones) the road transport system would become perfectly safe, but it wouldn't serve any purpose then would it?
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (2) | Disagree (9)

I would contend that bans do in fact work - as long as there is a Police force with enough time to target likely offenders and a criminal justice system that eventually imposes custodial sentences for those who persistently offend. At least when inside they cannot drive on our roads.
David, Suffolk

Agree (10) | Disagree (3)

Bans do not work. Most of the prolific offenders are already uninsured and unlicensed. The financial penalties imposed by insurers do not help particularly either. Middle aged, small family hatchback, 9 years no claims, and a clean licence since I was 18 and I still pay £600 a year for insurance. Double that bill for a 6 point and 200 IN10 prosecution and it makes far more sense for me to buy uninsured, untaxed, unsafe bangers for a couple of hundred from ebay every other other month.

Education, not prosecution. Having driven all over the world, we have one of the toughest tests, and many of the worst drivers. Keep in mind also that there will be no traffic cops to do education or enforcement at the current rate of cuts, jails are already filling fast.

So it is all very well for GEM and others to ask for this renewed focus, but how do they suggest it can be achieved?
Steve, Watford

Agree (7) | Disagree (7)

Good for GEM - a long overdue call. Perhaps the authorities should look at a ban after the accumulation of fewer points, than 12.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (2)

I don't think there are many of us in our business who would disagree with this call. The frustration at sentencing regimes is ongoing and I feel we should be treating road use as a privilege you earn and could lose, rather than a right. That lead should come from the criminal justice system.
Iain Temperton - Norfolk

Agree (12) | Disagree (0)